Saturday, March 31, 2007


Martin Luther at age 46 (Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1529)The theological system of any of the churches of western Christendom that separated from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation in the 16th century.

Protestantism is a movement within Christianity, representing the splitting away from the Roman Catholic Church during the mid-to-late Renaissance in Europe —a period known as the Protestant Reformation.

Commonly considered one of the three major branches of Christianity (along with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy); the term "Protestant" represents a diverse range of theological and social perspectives, churches and related organizations.

Originally, "protestant" meant "to be a witness for something" rather than "to be against something", as the current popular interpretation of the word seems to imply. The prefix pro means "for" in Latin. The Latin adjective protestans refers to "a person who gives public testimony for something or who proves or demonstrates something". The term Protestant originally applied to the group of princes and imperial cities who "protested" the decision by the 1529 Diet of Speyer to reverse course, and enforce the 1521 Edict of Worms. The 1521 edict forbade Lutheran teachings within the Holy Roman Empire. The 1526 session of the Diet had agreed to toleration of Lutheran teachings (on the basis of Cuius regio, eius religio) until a General Council could be held to settle the question, but by 1529, the Catholic forces felt they had gathered enough power to end the toleration without waiting for a Council.


Friday, March 30, 2007


Fulda a stronghold of Catholicism in GermanyCatholicism has two main ecclesiastical meanings, described in Webster's Dictionary as: a) "the whole orthodox Christian church, or adherence thereto"; and b) "the doctrines or faith of the Roman Catholic church, or adherence thereto."

The term Catholicism, derived from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "general" or "universal", is widely understood to refer to the Church, governed by the Bishop of Rome and the bishops in communion with him. However, other Churches that trace their historic episcopate to the apostolic succession — such as the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Churches of the Anglican Communion, and the Old-Catholics — consider themselves to be branches of the Catholic Church. Neo-Lutheranism argues that Lutheran Churches are simply a Protestant reform movement that remains within the greater Church catholic.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sunni Muslims

The core Religions in the Middle EastSunni Muslims are by far the largest denomination of Islam, the second largest being Shia Islam They are also referred to as Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa'h (Arabic: أهل السنة والجماعة) (people of the example (of Muhammad) and the community) which implies that they are the majority, or Ahl ul-Sunna (Arabic: أهل السنة; "The people of the example (of Muhammad)") for short. The word Sunni comes from the word sunna (Arabic : سنة ), which means the words and actions or example of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. They represent the branch of Islam that accepted the caliphate of Abu Bakr due to him being chosen by majority, thus elections, or Shurah, on the caliphate being the first distinguishing factor in Sunni Islam. Most Sunni lawyers define themselves as those Muslims who are rooted in one of the four orthodox schools of Sunni law (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafii or Hanbali).



Christ with the crown of thorns, 1623, Oil on canvas, 106 cm x 136 cm, Catharijne convent, UtrechtChristianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus, the Christ, as recounted in the New Testament.

With an estimated 2.1 billion adherents, Christianity is the world's largest religion. Its origins are intertwined with Judaism, with which it shares much sacred text and early history; specifically, it shares the Hebrew Bible, known in the Christian context as the Old Testament. Christianity is considered an Abrahamic religion, along with Judaism.

In the Christian scriptures, the name "Christian" and so "Christianity" is first attested in Acts 11:26: "For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people.

And in Antioch Jesus' disciples were first called Christians" (Gr. χριστιανους, from Christ Gr. Χριστός, which means "the anointed").


Wednesday, March 28, 2007


A Torah scroll, the Torah contains the five books of Moses, which are the first five books of the Hebrew Bible.Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people, with around 14 million followers (as of 2005). It is one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths and one of the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. The values and history of the Jewish people are a major part of the foundation of other Abrahamic religions such as Samaritanism (see Samaritan), Christianity, and Islam.

Judaism has seldom, if ever, been monolithic in practice, and has not had any centralized authority or binding dogma. Despite this, Judaism in all its variations has remained tightly bound to a number of religious principles. the most important of which is the belief in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, transcendent God, who created the universe and continues to be involved in its governance.

According to Jewish thought, the God who created the world established a covenant with the Jewish people, and revealed his laws and commandments to them in the form of the Torah. The practice of Judaism is devoted to the study and observance of these laws and commandments, as they are interpreted according to the Tanakh, Halakha, responsa and rabbinic literature.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Muslims performing salah Islam (Arabic: الإسلام, "submission to the will of God") is considered by many to be a monotheistic faith, and one of the Abrahamic religions. Followers of Islam are known as Muslims. Muslims believe that God revealed his divine word directly to mankind through many prophets and that Muhammad was the final prophet of Islam.

In Arabic, Islām derives from the three-letter root Sīn-Lām-Mīm (س-ل-م), which means "submission; to surrender; to obey; peace". Islām is a verbal abstract to this root, and literally means "submission/obedience," referring to submission to Allah.

Compare that root with the cognate word in Hebrew, shalom, which derives from the root shin-lamedh-mem (ש-ל-ם), which has cognates in many Semitic languages, and means completeness, fulfillment, wellbeing, a concept usually encapsulated by translation in the word peace.

The Christian and Jewish faiths do not consider Allah to be the same deity as Yahwey, the God of Israel.


Sunday, March 25, 2007


The angel hinders the offering up of Isaac, by RembrandtIsaac (Yitschak or Yitzhak) (יִצְחָק "He will laugh") is the son and heir of Abraham and the father of Jacob and Esau as described in the Hebrew Bible. His story is told in the book of Genesis 25:29-34.

Isaac was named because when his mother, Sarah, overheard that she would bear a child in her old age, she laughed (Genesis 18:10-15, 21:6-7). Some commentators believe that in the Book of Amos there is some suggestion that Israel may actually be another name for Isaac (Amos 7:9, 16) despite the Bible stating that Israel is the later name given to Isaac's son Jacob (Genesis 32:22-28, especially 28).

Isaac was born to Abraham by his wife Sarah, and the only child they had together. He was the longest lived of the three patriarchs (Genesis 21:1-3). Isaac was circumcised by his father when eight days old (Genesis 4-7); and a great feast was held in connection with his being weaned.

The next memorable event in his life is that connected with the story of God testing Abraham by asking him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice on a mountain (Mount Moriah) in the land of Moriah (Genesis 22, current location of The Temple Mount).



Expulsion of Ishmael and His Mother. Part of Art by Gustave DoréIshmael or Yishma'el (יִשְׁמָעֵאל "God hears or obeys") is Abraham's eldest son, born by his servant Hagar. Ishmael the son of Abraham, is first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Genesis as the eldest son of Abraham by Hagar, Sarah's female Egyptian maid-servant or slave.
In Islam and the Qur'an, Ishmael is considered one of the prophets.

In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), Ishmael's life is described in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 16, 17, 21, 25) and later texts. In Genesis 16 Sarai (Abram's wife) gives him her maid-servant Hagar to bear him children, since she believed that God had kept her from having children (Genesis 16:2).

Hagar became pregnant and despised Sarai (Genesis 16:4) who then expelled Hagar from the home of Abraham in retaliation. Hagar fled from Sarai and ran into the desert, where an angel found her near a spring.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Abrahamic religion

‘Abrahamic‘ (purple) and ‘Dharmic‘ (yellow) religionsIn the study of comparative religion, an Abrahamic religion is any of those religions deriving from a common ancient Semitic tradition and traced by their adherents to Abraham ("Father/Leader of many" Hebrew אַבְרָהָם Arabic ابراهيم), a patriarch whose life is narrated in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, and as a prophet in the Qur'an.

This forms a large group of related, largely monotheistic religions, generally held to include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Bahá'í Faith (based upon Islam), and comprises about half of the world's religious adherents.

According to the Jewish tradition, Abraham was the first person to reject idolatry, hence he symbolically appears as the founder of monotheistic religions. In that sense, Abrahamic religion could be simply equated with monotheistic religion, but not all monotheistic religions are Abrahamic. In Islam he is considered as the first monotheist and is often refered to as Ibrahim al-Hanif or Abraham the Monotheist. The term, desert monotheism, is sometimes used for a similar purpose of comparison in historical contexts, but not for modern faiths.


New Testament view on the life of Jesus

The four canonical gospels of the New Testament are the main sources of information for the traditional Christian narrative of Jesus' life.

Genealogy and family

The Gospels give two accounts of Jesus' genealogy: one in the male line through his legal father Joseph of Nazareth (Matt 1:2–16 and one through his mother, Mary, while referencing his supposed father; Luke 3:23–38). Both accounts trace his line back to King David and from there to Abraham. These lists are identical between Abraham and David, but they differ between David and Joseph. Matthew starts with Solomon and proceeds through the kings of Judah to the last king, Jeconiah. After Jeconiah the line of kings terminated when Babylon conquered Judah. Thus, Matthew shows that Jesus is the legal heir to the throne of Israel. Luke's genealogy is longer than Matthew's; it goes back to Adam and provides more names between David and Jesus, thus giving us direct descendants from Adam to Jesus through Mary.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Book of Revelation

John the Apostle on the Island of PatmosThe Book of Revelation, also called Revelation to John or Apocalypse of John is the canonical book of the New Testament commonly placed last in the Bible. It is the only biblical book that is wholly composed of apocalyptic literature.

The book is frequently called "Book of Revelation" or simply "Revelation"; however, the title found on some of the earliest manuscripts is "The Apocalypse/Revelation of John" (ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ), and the most common title found on later manuscripts is "The Apocalypse/Revelation of the theologian" (ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΛΟΓΟΥ). Many mistake The Book of Revelation for the plural revelations, which is false; there was only one known revelation recorded in the author's manuscript. The first sentence of the book, The Revelation of Jesus Christ ... unto his servant John, is also sometimes used as a title.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

General epistles

General epistles (also called Catholic Epistles) are books in the New Testament in the form of letters. They are termed "general" because for the most part their intended audience seems to be Christians in general rather than individual persons or congregations as is the case with the Pauline epistles. However, 2 John and 3 John are included in this group despite their addresses respectively to the "elect lady", speculated by many to be the church itself, and to "Gaius", about whom there has been much speculation but little in the way of conclusive proof as to his identity.

There has been considerable speculation as to the authorship of these works. All but the most conservative scholars tend to believe 2 Peter to be a pseudonymous forgery, but these scholars are adamant in their defense of its authenticity and place in the Biblical canon. Protestant Conservatives tend to attribute the books of James and Jude to Jesus' younger half-brothers, while Roman Catholics and others who hold to the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary see this, obviously, as heretical.


Monday, March 19, 2007

the letters of Paul

Portrait of St. Paul by RembrandtThe Pauline epistles are the thirteen or fourteen letters in the New Testament of the Christian Bible traditionally believed to have been written by the apostle Paul. Among them are some of the earliest extant Christian documents. They provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of formative Christianity and, as part of the canon of the New Testament, they have also been, and continue to be, hugely influential in Christian theology and ethics.

The Letters of Paul are as follows:

  • Romans
  • 1 Corinthians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon


Acts of the Apostles

Statue of Apostle Luka on Saint Isaac's cathedral. Saint Petersburg, RussiaThe Acts of the Apostles (Greek Praxeis Apostolon) is a book of the Bible, which now stands fifth in the New Testament after the four gospels. This book describes the development of the early church from Christ's Ascension to Paul's sojourn at Rome. It is commonly referred to as simply Acts. The traditional view is that it was written by the Macedonian Christian physician and historian Luke the Evangelist (also the author of the gospel of Luke).

An alternative name for the book is Acts of the Holy Spirit. It describes many of the journeys and actions taken by the apostles, meaning "those who have been sent" by God, to be His witnesses.

This was originally applied exclusively to those who had personally seen and/or lived with Jesus of Nazareth. The book of Acts contains many descriptions of miraculous events (which were given as signs from God to validate the apostles' teachings), which were performed by the Holy Spirit through the apostles. These included miraculous healings, casting out evil spirits, the raising of the dead, and also historical descriptions of everyday life in The Roman Empire and in ancient Jerusalem.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Gospels

Books in the new testament referred to as the Gospels:

In Christianity, gospel means "good news". Received opinion holds that the word gospel derives from the Old English god "good", and spell "news", a translation of the Greek word ευαγγέλιον, euangelion (eu good, -angelon message) (from this word comes the term "evangelist"). However, the word corresponding to "good" in Old English had a long vowel, and would normally develop into a MnE *goospel, leading some scholars to hold that the Old English term was not a translation of the Greek "good news," but rather a fresh coinage, "message concerning God."

Gospel has generally been used in three ways:

  1. To denote the proclamation of God's saving activity in Jesus of Nazareth or to denote the message proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth. This is the original New Testament usage (for example Mark 1:14-15 or 1 Corinthians 15:1-9, see also Strong's G2098).
  2. More popularly to refer to the four canonical Gospels, which are attributed to the Four Evangelists: (Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke and Gospel of John); and sometimes other non-canonical works (eg. Gospel of Thomas), that offer a narrative of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
  3. Some modern scholars have used the term to denote a hypothetical genre of Early Christian literature (cf. Peter Stuhlmacher, ed., Das Evangelium und die Evangelien, Tübingen 1983, also in English: The Gospel and the Gospels).



Jesus Christ being nailed to the crossThe name of Jesus, meaning "Savior" in Christian usage, derived from the Aramaic and Hebrew Yeshua and Joshua, meaning Yahweh is salvation (see: YHVH). Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, and the prophesied Hebrew Messiah (Anointed One, deliverer of Israel). Also known as "Jesus Christ", "Jesus of Nazareth", and "Jesus the Nazarene".

Christian views of Jesus (known as Christology) are both diverse and complex. Most Christians are Trinitarian and affirm the Nicene Creed, believing that Jesus is both the Son of God and God made incarnate1, sent to provide salvation and reconciliation with God by atoning for the sins of humanity.

Other Christians, however, do not believe that the Nicene Creed correctly interprets Scripture (see also Christian worldview). The most detailed accounts of Jesus' birth are contained in the Gospel of Matthew (probably written between 60 and 85 AD/CE) and the Gospel of Luke (probably written between 60 and 100 AD/CE).

There is considerable debate about the details of Jesus' birth even among Christian scholars, and few scholars claim to know either the year or the date of his birth or of his death.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

history of Christianity

Christ with the crown of thorns, 1623, Oil on canvas, 106 cm x 136 cm, Catharijneconvent, UtrechtThe history of Christianity concerns the history of the Christian religion and the Church, from Jesus and his Twelve Apostles to contemporary times. Christianity is the monotheistic religion which considers itself based on the revelation of Jesus Christ. "The Church" is understood theologically as the institution founded by Jesus for the salvation of mankind.

Christianity began in the 1st century AD as a Jewish sect but quickly spread throughout the Greco-Roman world.

Although it was originally persecuted under the Roman empire, it would ultimately become the state religion. In the Middle Ages it spread beyond the old borders of the Empire into Northern Europe and Russia. During the Age of Exploration, Christianity expanded throughout the world; it is the world's largest religion.



15000 men at a Promise Keepers meeting, praising GodA Christian is a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, referred to as Christ. Christians believe Jesus to be the Son of God, who lived a life befitting that of the creator of the universe, free of sin, who at the end of his earthly life was crucified, and then on the third day, rose from the dead, and later ascended into heaven. These beliefs are held by the vast majority of Christian denominations.

Christians believe that Jesus offers salvation, and that it is only possible because of him. Apart from Jesus Christ, there is no salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 states that "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God that no one should boast" (NIV).

Humans cannot save themselves through good works, but only Jesus can. Good works, however, are a result of living according to the Word of God. Christians identify themselves as monotheistic, believing that there is one God. Most sects incorporate God as a perichoresis of three persons: Father (the Source, the Eternal Majesty); the Son (the eternal Logos or Word, incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth); and the Holy Spirit (the Paraclete or advocate).


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Christian literature

Folio 4v from ac Coptic Old Testament Fragment, showing Lot and his daughters. Scanned from Crinelli, Lorenzo. Treasures from Italy’s Great Libraries. New York, The Vendome Press, 1997Christian literature is writing that deals with Christian themes and incorporates the Christian worldview. This constitutes a huge body of extremely varied writing.


While falling within the strict definition of literature, The Bible is not generally considered literature.

However the Bible has been treated and appreciated as literature; the King James Version in particular has long been considered a masterpiece of English prose, whatever may be thought of its religious significance. Several retellings of the Bible, or parts of the Bible, have also been made with the aim of emphasising its literary qualities.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Christian art

Pieta - Michelangelo Buonarroti, Saint Peter’s, Vatican, RomeChristian art is art that spans many segments of Christianity. Per each religious sect, art mediums, style, and representations change; however, the unifying theme is ultimately the representation of the life and times of Jesus Christ and in some cases the Old Testament.

Much of the art surviving from Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire is Christian art. While the Western Roman Empire's political structure essentially collapsed after the fall of Rome, its religious hierarchy, what is today the modern-day Catholic Church funded and supported production of sacred art. The Orthodox Church of Constantinople, which enjoyed greater stability within the surviving Eastern Empire was key in funding arts there, and glorifying Christianity. As a stable Western European society emerged during the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church led the way in terms of art, using its resources to commission paintings and sculptures.


Christian Music

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. -Matthew 3:16The Christian church creates Christian music or adapts existing music for Christian use. Contemporary Christian music explores Christian themes, but not always in the confines of the church. Music makes up a large part of Christian worship and includes the singing of hymns, vocalized psalms, vocal and instrumental versions of spiritual songs for the purpose of uplifting and praising God. Musical instruments often accompany singing in the service, either through live performance or the use of soundtracks. Some churches employ only a cappella music to worship God. On other occasions instrumental music only expresses praise toward God. Churches today use these methods of musical expression in many different combinations to offer their praise to God.

Being Jewish, Jesus and his disciples would most likely have sung the psalms from memory.

However, without a centralised music industry, the repertoire of ordinary people was much greater than it is today, so they probably knew other songs too. Early Christians continued to sing the psalms much as they were sung in the synagogues in the first century.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Christian Worldview

Percentage of Christians for each countryChristian worldview refers to a collection of distinctively Christian philosophical and religious beliefs. The term is typically used in one of three ways:

  1. A set of worldviews voiced by those identifying themselves as Christian;
  2. Common elements of worldviews predominant among those identifying themselves as Christian;
  3. The concept of a single "Christian worldview" on a range of issues.

There are some rather startling statistics, based upon the following definition of "worldview," including a firm belief in six specific religious views.

  1. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life;
  2. God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it today;
  3. salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned;
  4. Satan is real;
  5. a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people;
  6. and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

King David

David and Goliath by Caravaggio, <br />c. 1599King David (Standard Hebrew דָּוִד, Davíd, "Beloved", Tiberian Hebrew Dāwíð; Arabic داوود, Dā'ūd, "Beloved") was the second king of the united kingdom of Israel (c. 1005 BC – 965 BC) and successor to King Saul. His life and rule are recorded in the Hebrew Bible's books of First Samuel (from chapter 16 onwards), Second Samuel, First Kings and Second Kings (to verse 4). First Chronicles gives further stories of David, mingled with lists and genealogies.

He is depicted as the most righteous of all the ancient kings of Israel - although not without fault - as well as an acclaimed warrior, musician and poet (he is traditionally credited with the authorship of many of the Psalms). 2 Samuel 7:12-16 states that God was so pleased with David that He promised that the Davidic line would endure forever; Jews therefore believe that the Jewish Messiah will be a direct descendant of King David, and Christians trace the lineage of Jesus back to him through both Mary and Joseph.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Kingdom of Israel

10th century BCE: The Land of Israel, including the United Kingdom of IsraelThe Kingdom of Israel Hebrew: מַלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל) was the Kingdom proclaimed by the Israelite nation around 1030-1020 BCE.

According to the Biblical account (see bible), Israel is descended from Hebrew slaves who left the Land of Goshen, Egypt during the Exodus at an uncertain date, often considered to be in the late 13th century BCE. Prior to the establishment of the kingdom, the Hebrew people, (the Israelites) were led by the patriarchs and later by Judges. The notion of kingship was for a long time anathemetised, as it was seen as one man being put in a position of reverence and power that in their faith was reserved for the one true God. According to the bible, it was Samuel, one of last of the judges, to whom the nation appealed for a king, as his sons, who had been appointed judges over Israel, misused the office. Although he tried to dissuade them, they were resolute and Samuel anointed Saul ben Kish from the tribe of Benjamin as king.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Solomon's Temple

A Dutch engraver’s depiction of Solomon’s Temple. Solomon brought in masons and architects from Tyre to build the temple, which took seven years to complete.Solomon's Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש, transliterated Beit HaMikdash), also known as the First Temple, was, according to the Bible, the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. It functioned as a religious focal point for worship and the sacrifices known as the korbanot (see korban) in ancient Judaism. Completed in the 10th century BCE, it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

Before his death King David had provided materials in great abundance for the building of the temple on the summit of Mount Moriah (1 Chronicles 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chronicles 3:1), where he had purchased a threshing floor from Araunah the Jebusite (2 Sam. 24:21 et seq.), on which he offered sacrifice.

The Bible states that in the beginning of his reign, King Solomon of the united Kingdom of Israel, set about giving effect to the ideas of his father, and prepared additional materials for the building. From subterranean quarries at Jerusalem he obtained huge blocks of stone for the foundations and walls of the temple. These stones were prepared for their places in the building under the eye of Tyrian master-builders.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

history of ancient Israel

Map of the southern Levant, c.830 BCE.Early History The Semitic culture followed on from the Ghassulians. People became urbanized and lived in city-states, one of which was Jericho. The area's location at the center of routes linking three continents made it the meeting place for religious and cultural influences from Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor.

It was also the natural battleground for the great powers of the region.

It was also subject to domination by adjacent empires, beginning with Egypt in the late 3rd millennium BCE. Traditions regarding the early history found in later works such as the Kebra Nagast and commentaries of Rashi, Philo of Alexandria, and numerous others, (besides of course, the Tanakh) refer to the early inhabitants as the sons of Shem and also speak of an invasion by the people known as Canaanites (see Canaan) descended from Ham.


Monday, March 05, 2007

tribes of Israel

Map of the twelve tribes of IsraelIsrael had 12 sons, as follows: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. (Jacob was renamed Israel Gen. 32:27-29). The Tribe of Levi was set apart from the others in the sense that, the members of the Tribe of Levi were to be in charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony. (see: Num. 1). The Tribe of Joseph is not usually listed with the Hebrew tribes although Joseph is one of Jacobs twelve sons, the eldest of Rachel. It is sometimes referred to as the House of Joseph. Rather, the two tribes founded by his sons Ephraim and Manasseh are listed separately.

The Ten Lost Tribes are those from the northern Kingdom of Israel who were deported by the Assyrians in the 8th century BC to Khorason. In Jewish popular culture, the ten tribes disappeared from history, leaving only the tribes of Benjamin and Judah and Levi who evolved into the modern day Jews.


Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant may have looked similar to this chest - found in the Tomb of Tutankhamun.The Ark of the Covenant (ארון הברית in Hebrew: aron habrit) is described in the Hebrew Bible as a sacred container, wherein rested the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. It may have looked similar to this chest (right) - found in the Tomb of Tutankhamun. The Ark was built at the command of God, in accord with Moses's prophetic vision on Mount Sinai (Exodus 25:9-10). Its primary function was for God to communicate with Moses, "from between the two cherubim" on the Ark's cover (Exodus 25:22). The Ark and its sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel" (Lamentations 2:1). Rashi and some Midrashim suggest that there were two arks - a temporary one made by Moses and a later one made by Bezalel (Hertz 1936).

During the journeys of the Israelites, the Ark was carried by the priests in advance of the host (Numbers 4:5, 6; 10:33-36; Psalms 68:1; 132:8). The Ark was borne by priests into the bed of the Jordan, which separated, opening a pathway for the whole of the host to pass over (Joshua 3:15, 16; 4:7, 10, 11, 17, 18). The Ark was moreover borne in the procession round Jericho (Josh. 6:4, 6, 8, 11, 12). When carried, the Ark was always wrapped in a veil, in badger skins, a blue cloth, and was carefully concealed, even from the eyes of the Levites who carried it.


Saturday, March 03, 2007


Moses names Joshua his successorJoshua or Yehoshúa (יְהוֹשֻׁעַ "The LORD of/is help/court") is a Biblical character, much of whose life is described in the Book of Joshua. The lack of a vav after the shin would normally indicate a pronunciation of Yehoshēa`, and in three places he is actually called Hoshēa. In Greek he is called Ιησούς (Iēsoûs) του Ναυή, the same as the name of Jesus of Nazareth and others bearing the Hebrew name Yēshua`. He is a historical figure, and would have lived sometime between the 18th century BC and the late 13th century BC.

Joshua was the son of Nun, of the tribe of Ephraim and the successor to Moses as the leader of Israel. See also History of ancient Israel and Judah. He is called Jehoshua in Num. 13:16 (A.V.), and Jesus in Acts 7:45 and Heb. 4:8 (R.V., Joshua).

He was born in Egypt, and was probably of the age of Caleb, with whom he is generally associated. He shared in all the events of the Exodus, and held the place of commander of the host of the Israelites at their great battle against the Amalekites in Rephidim (Ex. 17:8-16).

He became Moses' minister, and accompanied him part of the way when he ascended Mount Sinai to receive the (Exodus 32:17). He was also one of the twelve spies who were sent on by Moses to explore the land of Canaan (Num. 13:16, 17), and only he and Caleb gave an encouraging report.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Achaemenid Empire

This clay cylinder is inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform with an account by Cyrus, king of Persia (559-530 BC) of his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC and capture of Nabonidus, the last Babylonian kingThe Achaemenid Empire (Old Persian: Hakhāmanishiya) was a dynasty in the ancient Persian Empire with high cultural and economical achievements during its highest power. At the height of their power, around 500 BC, the Achaemenid rulers of Persia ruled over territories roughly encompassing today's Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Bulgaria, eastern parts of Greece, Egypt, Syria, much of what is now Pakistan, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Caucasia, Central Asia, Libya, and northern parts of Arabia. The empire ruled by Persia eventually became the largest empire of the ancient world.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Seleucid Empire

Seleucid empire shown in yellow The Seleucid Empire was a Hellenistic successor state of Alexander the Great's dominion. There were over 30 kings of the Seleucid dynasty from 323 to 60 BC.

The partition of Alexander's empire (323-281 BC)
Alexander the Great had conquered the Persian Empire within a short time-frame and died young, leaving an expansive empire of partly Hellenized culture without an adult heir. The empire was put under the authority of a regent in the person of Perdiccas in 323 BC, and the territories were divided between Alexander's generals, who thereby became satraps, at the Partition of Babylon in 323 BC.




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